I can’t dance. Don’t ask me. All the work in the yard finally exacted its toll, not on my back, but on my knee, which is not unexpected. OH well…
Our parents load us down with *fardels and we are obliged, at some time in our lives, or maybe when our lives over, to scatter the fardels appropriately to the future. One of my ancestral fardels is an old pedal sewing machine that once belonged to my grandmother. It’s cast iron and oak and that isn’t even the sewing machine. The sewing machine itself is made of heavy metal inside and out. It comes from a time before plastic.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my cousin’s daughter. She included her mom’s phone number, and I sent back mine. Within the hour we were talking and it was wonderful. I wrote all about it here.
This past weekend I was dusting (who’s surprised?) the top of the sewing machine and had an epiphany. “I found a home for you, Grandma,” I said to the machine. I contacted my cousin’s daughter and asked her if she sewed. She does. Then I asked her if she would like this wondrous thing. She was so happy and excited. I took a bunch of photos so she could see it. All she has to do is come and get it. They live only 3 hours away and we’r getting together when the virus is “over.”
My mom was very insistent when my grandmother died that she get the sewing machine. “I’m the one who sews.” It meant a lot to her to pass it on to me. But, it was not strictly true that my mom was “the one who sews.” My cousin’s mom also sewed. My cousin won prizes at 4-H for sewing.
As I was setting up the photos and really looking at the sewing machine for the first time in years, I thought about the influence of my grandmother on my life. It’s been mysterious and persistent and, in some ways, I feel like she lives here with me. She died when I was 10.
A million years later, when I traveled to Switzerland, I found her again. Corresponding with my cousin’s daughter about this heavy-weight fardel, I felt like my grandma was watching over my shoulder, maybe arranging the whole thing. I know that sounds weird, but…
The word “fardel” means “burden.” It’s archaic, and no one uses it, but I really like it and it is my singular mission in life to restore it to common usage. It is used in French (fardeaux) and has a certain undeniable je ne sais quoi.